Roadhog and Junkrat’s in-lore friendship is spilling over into actual gameplay balance, as the partners-in-crime are both getting buffed on the PTR in order to field test changes that might later make it into the main game.
Roadhog was recently nerfed to reduce his damage and make his hook attack less of a one-shot kill against almost all other heroes. This, in part, resulted in the increased viability of the dive meta which currently dominates the game, but a series of balance changes and, according to some players, the release of Doomfist, have put its future in danger.
Junkrat, on the other hand, was largely left alone with very few minor changes, however the rampant rebalancing of other heroes have left him behind, making him a less and less viable hero as patches have gone on.
News of these heroes getting tweaks came from a pair of fan-created threads over at the official Overwatch forums, both of which got blue-text replies from Geoff Goodman saying that the team is testing almost exactly what was suggested.
In Roadhog’s case, the suggestion was increasing damage reduction to balance out his massive damage nerf. Since the nerf, many have claimed that he’s turned into a miscategorized DPS hero instead of the tank he’s supposed to be, and this change would make him viable in his stated role once more.
While the OP was reserved in his suggestion, considering a 20-30% damage reduction while using “Taking a Breather” in order to have his large hitbox serve as a “meat-shield” for fellow players, increasing the team-play aspect of the hero, Goodman stated that the internal tests had a 50% increase.
Currently we have been play testing Roadhog with -50% damage taken while using Take a Breather, and also allowing him to move at full speed while inhaling. These two changes combined certainly make him significantly more difficult to kill, while also allowing Roadhog players to be much more aggressive when trying to find a hook target, knowing they can survive a lot more easily.
Another change suggested for Roadhog’s head hitbox to be covered during inhaling, thus also increasing survivability, however Goodman’s reply suggests this isn’t being tested. While Roadhog becoming a more effective tank likely won’t be enough to bring back the three-tank comp, it might signal the impending arrival of a new dive-breaking comp that could shake up the meta.
For Junkrat, the proposed change centered on the rebalancing of the concussion mine, an ability often used for both escaping and in common combat combos. The damage would be reduced to 90, however so would the cooldown, to 4 seconds. In addition, the trap would be buffed to 110 damage.
The original poster clearly outlines the benefit of the proposed changes:
- Trap+Mine = 200 damage
- Grenade+Mine = 210 damage
- Trap is way more deadly.
- Can’t spam 2 mines and kill 200HP. For balance reasons.
- Grenade + Mine is a much more frequent and consistent combo
- Junkrat’s survivability and mobility goes way up because he can use a ConcMine every 4 seconds to engage/retreat.
Goodman indicated that the team was working on a different approach. The new build would see the Concussion Mine given two charges, meaning if you put one down, you can still place another without any cooldown, however the cooldown would automatically start on the first charge. This would allow for greater mobility and more combat dynamic, for example giving Junkrat a way to deal with flying opponents, like Pharah.
Additionally, his Ultimate ability will likely get a buff either to speed or health in order to widen the range of combat situations where it would be an effective cast.
These changes should be making their way to the PTR soon, allowing Roadhog and Junkrat fans a chance to try out their stronger variants. Whether any of this will make it to the live servers is anyone’s guess, however it would definitely be welcome.